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Solid Edge ST9 Built-in Data Management, Pt 4 – Client Settings

By now you should have noticed that your data management is improving.  If you were keenly aware, you may even have surmised that the built-in data management tools of Solid Edge ST9 are heavily weighted to server settings.  In other words, Congratulations! You’ve been doing data management.  But, there are client settings that will improve consistency and automate some of the processes making your design process more efficient and less of a belly ache.

Unique File Names

While having a detailed folder structure may make for convenient grouping of files, we learned that it also allows for duplicate file names.  Solid Edge, on the other hand, resolves links between filenames only. This can lead to conflicts. By limiting the number of folders and subfolders, Windows will prevent you from creating 100 “brackets” because a bracket.par will already exist in the folder.  We’ve eliminated one of the biggest headaches in data management simply by streamlining folder hierarchies.

Unless you have created a single folder, though, duplicate filenames are still possible. Therefore, a better way to prevent duplicate filenames is to use the part number as the filename. (This assumes you have a part number log and a system to assign unique part numbers.  Setting up this business process is outside the scope of these articles, but feel free to contact the Services Group at the Institute of Configuration Management. Tell them I sent you.) To prevent duplicates between different revisions of the part, include the revision as part of the filename also.  Solid Edge has settings that can automate file naming for you.

Solid Edge Options - General Tab
Set your company’s revision deliminator and initial revision. Shown here is the caret (^) symbol, which works really well unless you integrate with an Oracle database.

 

Solid Edge Options - File Management Tab
By enforcing the File Naming Rules to use unique Document Number and Revision ID, Solid Edge uses the fast search index to prevent duplicate filenames.  Beware of index lag.

 

Solid Edge Save As Dialog
The file name field is greyed out and locked. As you type in the Document Number in the Save As dialog, the filename is populated automatically if the File Naming Rule is turned on. Notice the initial Revision and Revision Deliminator in the filename also.  (If you browse your CAD vault and your filenames are not consistently like what is shown above, feel free to call me for a consultation.)

Pathfinder Information

I know quite a few users that include a long description in their filenames because that’s what displays in the assembly Pathfinder.  The description makes locating components easier. Since filenames are now only part number and revision, the unique description is lost.  Not necessarily!  Using the Helpers within Solid Edge options, the Pathfinder display can be changed to show any data the user would like based on the formula entered into the option.

Solid Edge Options - Helpers Tab
The default Document Name formula.

 

Solid Edge Document Name Helper
A recommended Document Name Formula for the Pathfinder display.  The revision deliminator does not have to be the same one used in the filename.

 

Solid Edge Pathfinder
The results of changing the Document Name formula.  This example uses a slash (/) as the deliminator and a dash (-) with spaces to separate the part number from the title.  I prefer the caret and underscore without spaces since dashes and slashes and spaces are used elsewhere within names and numbers.

Lifecycle Management

Remember when I recommended you create the folder hierarchy of your CAD vault to match the life cycle stages of your design?  Not only should you have experienced easier manual data management with that structure, but by setting a few more options in the Solid Edge client, moving files can be automated.

STEP 1

Back in the Solid Edge Options, there are two File Locations that must be set in order to automate file movement.  (At this point, you may be wondering why moving files is even necessary.  Because doing so allows you to set NTFS security permissions on a per-folder basis through Windows. This adds another level of security and access control to your CAD files.) The two file locations to set are Pre-released and Released.  Go ahead and set the Obsolete folder while you’re it.

Solid Edge Lifecycle File Locations
File locations to set to automate the life cycle management (moving files).

 

Example CAD_Vault
My CAD_Vault setup.

If your CAD Administrator uses the SEAdmin.exe tool, these file locations are available, but they will return an error.  When set via SEAdmin, the file locations MUST be in a managed environment like Insight. To point to a local drive, shared folder, or network location, the File Locations must be set within Solid Edge.


STEP 2

In the File Management tab of the Solid Edge Options, check the box to Move documents to the location specified and check the statuses that you want automatically moved.  I recommend all of them, but notice that not all of the statuses have corresponding file location definitions.  In other words, they may not move.  I expect, though, that this is something for a future version of Solid Edge’s built-in data management tools.  Let’s hope.

Solid Edge Options - File Management Tab
Check the Life Cycle box to automatically move files. Then select each life cycle status to move.

 

Solid Edge Status Properties
As you change the status of the Solid Edge file, the file(s) will move the correct folder within your Vault, maintaining all links and all associativity.

That’s it!  The client settings have been configured.  Do this for every Solid Edge user in your organization and you are one step closer to trouble free data management.

Conclusion

This concludes the series on setting up the Built-in Data Management tools in Solid Edge ST9.  There is more to explore, and I will post some tips and tricks and other helpful information to get the most from your data management.  In the meantime, happy designing.  These built-in tools, when setup properly, help eliminate the burden of file management and allow you to focus more on what’s important, your customer.

Final Plug

If you need additional help with managing your data, defining good processes, or just need a shoulder to cry on, I am a certified professional in Configuration Management / Integrated Process Excellence through the Institute of Configuration Management.  Call the Services Group, tell them I sent you, and we can get started getting your data under control.  Or, if it’s a quick and easy question, leave a comment below and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

I’d also like to thank Greg Baldwin for his presentation on the built-in data management tools at Solid Edge University 2016.  You can see the slides of his presentation on the Solid Edge Community website.

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